Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said King Charles is deeply aligned with the fundamental priorities of Canadians on reconciliation and the environment.
Trudeau made the comments while speaking with reporters in London, a day after he attended the King’s coronation at Westminster Abbey.
Trudeau said he has known Charles for decades as an environmentalist and someone committed to preserving nature.
He said the King has also shown that he understands the problems created by Britain’s colonial history in Canada.
“The work that he has done in reaching out to Indigenous leaders of the past number of years, including again this week, I think shows that he is deeply aligned with some of the really fundamental priorities of Canadians,” Trudeau said.
Charles’s coronation on Saturday drew royal fans from all over the world to London, including thousands who camped overnight along a two-kilometre route travelled by the procession.
Fans waved flags, donned capes, fascinators and crowns, and broke into cheers any time they caught a glimpse of a member of the royal family passing by in a motorcade.
Canadian flags were on prominent display in the days leading up to the event, as monarchists from across the country joined the festive atmosphere outside Buckingham Palace.
Many of the Canadians in the crowd praised Charles’ life of public service, his many visits to Canada and his decades-long commitment to fighting climate change
But polls suggest a vast majority of Canadians feel indifferent to Charles and little to no attachment to the royal family — a sentiment that has grown since the death of Queen Elizabeth last September. A significant percentage also believe it’s time for Canada to reconsider ties to the monarchy.
Trudeau noted that Canadians had an extraordinary affection for Charles’s mother, Queen Elizabeth.
He said that leaves a challenge for anyone who steps into the role as Canada’s head of state.
“Obviously, we will have many, many years in which Canadians will get to know his approach and his deep commitment to service, which includes leadership on environment and reconciliation issues,” Trudeau said.
“I am looking forward to, alongside Canadians, getting to continue to work with him on big things that affect not just Canada but the planet.”
John Craig, a professor of British and English history at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, said most Canadians likely don’t think about the monarchy much at all.
“Apart from the odd visit from one member of the working royal family or another, it seems totally remote from people’s lives,” he said in a phone interview from Lincolnshire, in the east of England.
However, he also said he doesn’t sense a “real groundswell of interest” for changing Canada’s constitutional arrangement, from either citizens or politicians.
Craig said there’s no doubt that Charles is a “serious man,” who worked over the years on important initiatives such as reconciliation, climate change and supporting disadvantaged youth. Despite being in his 70s, the monarch will likely redouble his efforts now that he’s been crowned, Craig said.
Whether that will endear him to Canadians remains to be seen, Craig said, as he echoed one of Trudeau’s comments about the late queen.
“When you’re taking over the reins for somebody who’s been monarch for 70 plus years, it’s a very tough act to follow.”
The coronation of Canada’s new head of state was marked with a ceremony in Ottawa on Saturday, as well as events and viewing parties across the country.
The United Kingdom has a whole weekend of events, including a concert at Windsor Castle on Sunday and a number of picnics, volunteering initiatives and smaller community events.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2023.